Packaging: A few thoughts and a lot of links on the topic to start a series

Packaging is such a huge and important topic, and it’s one I haven’t written about much for some strange reason. (When I did a search on the old blog to gather resources for a question posed by Carmencita in the Patreon: January 2017 Q&A section, I realized how little I’ve written about it.) There’s just so much to say on this topic, so this is just the start of a series that might take some time to update as I have learned so much since I wrote all these posts years ago.

Have you ever found a site and spent hours on it looking at bottles, tins, jars, tubes, and more? I remember someone calling that “packaging porn”, and that seemed somewhat appropriate. 

What do I mean by packaging? Packaging refers to every single way we could package our products from cellophane bags to bottles, tins, and jars.

Packaging: Choosing the right container

Packaging – alternatives to bottles

Packaging: Closures

Non-container packaging and labels

Why do we care about packaging? There are so many reasons, but part of it is making our products look nice when we give them to our friends and family or sell them. We also care about what we use as different containers as they can have such a huge impact on our products, like how well they are preserved, the shelf life, and so on.

We want to choose the right containers for the right products and the right ingredients. For instance, you don’t want to use tins for products that contain water or might be exposed to water, like scrubs.

Creating products: Packaging – too many choices

Creating products: Packaging and preservation

Choosing the right container: Ingredients

When it comes to packaging and preservation, this is an interesting study – closures & contamination. The study also tested contamination of lotions with three different caps – the screw cap, the flip cap and pump. The screw cap tested very poorly (79%), the flip cap tested poorly as well (39%), and while the pump tested the lowest (10%).

What about using opaque or tinted bottles? We are always warned about keeping our oils in the ever popular cool, dark place, so should we be thinking about using opaque bottles for some products? (See this post on Vitamin E and storage...) Some preservatives require opaque bottles, like Tinosan.

What about sterilizing our bottles before using them? Nope, no need to do this! When you get your bottles from your supplier, they are presumed to be clean. Store them in a sealed box or plastic bag – I like to use large to extra-large freezer type bags with Ziploc tops, but I do have a few extra-large ones intended for things like comforters, too – and fill them up with product when you’re ready. In fact, trying to clean bottles can add grossness to them if you put them in your dishwasher or a washing basin with less-than-clean water.

What about using glass containers? Although these are easier to clean and re-use, glass containers aren’t necessarily the best choice. For products you might use in the bathroom, nudity, water, and broken glass can lead to some serious problems, so stick to plastic or metal there. You could use glass for things like essential oil sprays or lotions.

And can we re-use our bottles and containers? The short answer is no. The longer answer is no because we can never truly clean them enough to prevent little bits of old oils or butters from going rancid, then turning the product all gross. (I found this out by experience, sadly.)

Can we re-use glass containers? I’m still apprehensive when it comes to anything that might have contained oil as you can have plasticky bits on them – like seals and such – that can harbour contamination or oil molecules. (This something I’m investigating further as I’m completely aware I could be wrong here…)

What about airless pumps? I admit, these are my new Saturday night things as we can use them for products that might be harder-to-preserve, like those that contain a ton of botanical ingredients, or for products with preservatives that might require hurdle technology to work best,

The downside of these I have is that they aren’t great for thicker lotions, like thicker hand lotions, foot creams, or body butters. The upside is that they look awesome and work very well.

And there’s so much more to talk about like filling containers, creating and adding labels, and more! I’m really excited about writing more about this and hearing about your experiences, thoughts, and questions!

What can you share? What do you want to know? What are your experiences with packaging? Share your thoughts in the comments below!